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Publication numberUS6094288 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 09/207,491
Publication dateJul 25, 2000
Filing dateDec 8, 1998
Priority dateDec 8, 1998
Fee statusPaid
Publication number09207491, 207491, US 6094288 A, US 6094288A, US-A-6094288, US6094288 A, US6094288A
InventorsThomas E. Tamburrini
Original AssigneePsc Scanning, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Scanner dither actuator with mirror mounting elements molded into spring
US 6094288 A
Abstract
A scan assembly and method of manufacture in which the dither mechanism comprises a co-molded dither spring, dither mount and mirror mount. The method comprises positioning a dither spring in a mold fixture, closing a mold over both a free end of the dither spring and a fixed end of the dither spring, placing the mold in an injection molding machine, injecting plastic material into the mold and forming a base mount on the fixed end of the dither spring and a mirror mount on the free end to form the spring assembly, allowing the spring assembly to cool, and removing the spring assembly from the mold.
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Claims(22)
What is claimed is:
1. A method of constructing a dither spring assembly for a dither scan mechanism comprising the steps of
positioning a spring element in a mold fixture;
closing a mold over both a free end of the spring element and a fixed end of the spring element;
injecting plastic material into the mold and forming a base mount on the fixed end of the spring element and a mirror mount on the free end to form the dither spring assembly;
allowing the dither spring assembly to cool;
removing the dither spring assembly from the mold.
2. A method according to claim 1 further comprising
positioning the mold in an injection molding machine.
3. A method according to claim 1 further comprising
depositing a mirror surface on the mirror mount;
installing the dither spring assembly in a scan module.
4. A method according to claim 1 further comprising
strengthening attachment between the base mount and the fixed end of the spring element by forming ribs in the dither mount which pass through openings in the fixed end of the spring element.
5. A method according to claim 1 further comprising
strengthening attachment between the mirror mount and the free end of the spring element by forming ribs in the mirror mount which pass through openings in the free end of the spring element.
6. A method according to claim 1 further comprising providing the mold with a holding fixture disposed in the mold for facilitating alignment of the spring element during molding process.
7. A method according to claim 6 further comprising
providing the spring element with indentations for facilitating insertion into the holding fixture.
8. A method according to claim 1 wherein the mold comprises two sections, a first section for forming the base mount and a second section for forming the mirror mount.
9. A dither spring assembly for a dither scan mechanism, comprising
a base mount;
a mirror mount; and
a dither spring element having a first end mounted to the base mount and a second end upon which the mirror mount is mounted, the base mount and mirror mount being concurrently formed via the same molding process onto the dither spring element.
10. A dither spring assembly according to claim 9 wherein the dither spring element includes at least one opening formed in the first end and wherein the base mount includes a rib passing through said opening.
11. A dither spring assembly according to claim 9 wherein the dither spring element includes at least one opening formed in the second end and wherein the mirror mount includes a rib passing through said opening.
12. A dither spring assembly according to claim 9 wherein the dither spring element is made of metal.
13. A dither spring assembly according to claim 9 wherein the dither spring element is made of plastic.
14. A method of constructing a dither spring assembly for a dither scan mechanism comprising the steps of
positioning a spring element in a mold fixture;
closing a mold over at least a first end of the spring element;
injecting plastic material into the mold and molding a first mount on the first end of the spring element thereby forming a combined spring/mount assembly;
allowing the spring/mount assembly to cool;
removing the spring/mount assembly from the mold.
15. A method according to claim 14 wherein the first mount comprises a base mount.
16. A method according to claim 15 further comprising
attaching a mirror mount to a second end of the spring element.
17. A method according to claim 14 wherein the first mount comprises a mirror mount.
18. A method according to claim 17 further comprising
attaching a base mount to a second end of the spring element.
19. A method according to claim 17 further comprising
attaching a base mount to a second end of the spring element via an attachment mechanism selected form the group consisting of screw attachment, adhesive, mounting bracket, and pin.
20. A method according to claim 14 further comprising
molding a second mount on a second end of the spring during the same step by which the first mount is molded.
21. A method according to claim 14 further comprising
molding a second mount on a second end of the spring during the same step by which the first mount is molded.
22. A method according to claim 14 further comprising
molding a second mount on a second end of the spring during a separate step by which the first mount is molded.
Description
BACKGROUND

The field of the present invention relates to optical systems for data reading and particularly to a scanning system employing a dithering mirror actuator.

Typically a data reading device such as a bar code scanner illuminates a bar code and senses light reflected from the code to detect the bars and spaces of the code symbols and thereby derive the encoded data. In a common system, an optical beam of light, such as a laser beam produced by a laser diode is scanned over a scan angle so as to scan the laser spot across the item being read. A variety of mechanical scanning mechanisms are known as described in for example U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,475,206 and 5,629,510 or U.S. application Ser. No. 08/934,487, each of these disclosures hereby incorporated by reference, such scanning mechanisms comprising a rotating polygon mirror, dithering or oscillating mirror, scanning light source or laser diode, rotating/oscillating prisms, holographic elements and others devices. Essentially all these scanners include a supporting structure which allows for movement of the mechanical scanning mechanism.

One method commonly employed for rapidly and repetitively scanning the illumination beam across a scanned region is mirror dithering. Dithering, i.e. rapid rotational oscillation of an illumination beam steering mirror about an axis substantially parallel to the mirror face, causes the illumination beam to move rapidly back and forth generating a scan line. When this scan line illuminates a barcode, the resulting time dependent signal due to detected light scattered and/or reflected from the bars and spaces of the barcode is decoded to extract the information encoded therein. To be used in such scanning applications, the dithering motor generating the mirror motion must be stable and typically employs some sort of feedback between the motor and the motion of the mirror. Particularly for handheld scanning applications, the dithering assembly should be light, compact, reliable, and consume minimum power while producing sufficiently large amplitude motion for scanning.

The dithering mirror assembly typically includes a plastic or metal spring attached at one end to a fixed chassis mount with a mirror mount attached to the other end. The present inventor has recognized difficulties in assembling the spring assembly: gluing the spring to the chassis mount, attaching or clamping the mirror mount onto the spring, and accurately aligning and/or balancing these elements.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a scan module and scanning assemblies therefore in which the dither mechanism comprises dither mount and mirror mount, one or both of which are co-molded onto a dither spring.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side perspective view of a dither assembly according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the dither assembly of FIG. 1 with mounts shown as transparent to illustrate internal configuration;

FIG. 3 is a detailed perspective view of the dither spring of FIGS. 1-2;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a dither spring inserted into position in a first mold half;

FIG. 5 is a diagram of a preferred assembly process for a dither spring assembly;

FIG. 6 is flow chart for the assembly process for the dither spring assembly of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a diagrammatic view of a scan module with a dither assembly of FIG. 1 installed therein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Preferred embodiments will now be described with reference to the drawings. For clarity of description, any element numeral in one figure will represent the same element if used in any other figure.

FIGS. 1-2 illustrates a dither mechanism 10 comprising a dither spring 20 which is attached at a fixed end to a base mount 16 and at a free end to mirror mount 12. the base mount 16 is illustrated with a pillar shape having a square or rectangular cross section but may be any suitable shape (e.g. round or oval). The base mount 16 may be L-shaped having a lower leg portion 16a which may facilitate more secure mounting to the base or frame 7. The mirror 14 is attached to the mirror mount 12, or may preferably comprise a reflective coating applied to the surface of the mirror mount 12. The coating may be applied by vapor deposition techniques or other suitable coating process.

FIG. 3 illustrates details of the dither spring 20. The dither spring 20 may be constructed of metal (e.g. beryllium copper) or plastic (e.g. Mylarô). The dither spring 20 is a leaf spring form having a fixed end 24 for attachment to the base mount 16 and a free end 29 for attachment to the mirror mount 12. The dither spring is preferably formed with central openings 22, 23 to provide for the desired flexibility of the spring with desired resonant frequency characteristics. The ends 24, 29 of the spring 20 are also provided with openings 25, 26 and 27, 28 which permit plastic material to pass through the spring ends during the molding process thereby providing a stronger bond between the base mount 16 and the spring end 24 and between the mirror mount 12 and the spring end 29. Thus when the liquid for plastic is injected into the mold 30 during the molding process, the base mount 16 is formed with ribs 17a, 17b (see FIG. 2) passing through the openings 25, 26 the mirror mount 12 is formed with ribs 13a, 13b (see FIG. 2) passing through the openings 28, 29. The spring 20 also has indentations 21a, 21b for facilitating insertion into the spring holding mechanism of the mold 30 described further below with respect to FIG. 4.

In a preferred construction, the base mount 16 and mirror mount 12 are integrally molded to the dither spring 20 in the same molding process. FIGS. 3-6 illustrate a preferred method of manufacture in which the dither/spring assembly 10 is formed in a mold 30 whereby the base mount 16 and mirror mount 12 co-molded at the same time (i.e. concurrently) onto the dither spring 20 in the same manufacturing process. A preferred method of manufacture may comprise the steps of

positioning the dither spring 20 in a first mold fixture half 32 of the mold 30;

closing the mold halves 32, 38 over both the free end 29 of the dither spring 20 and the fixed end 24;

injecting plastic material into the mold 30 and forming the base mount 16 on the fixed end 24 of the dither spring 20 and the mirror mount 12 on the free end 29;

allowing the assembly 10 to cool;

opening the mold 30 and removing the assembly 10 therefrom;

depositing the mirror surface 14 on the mirror mount 12;

installing the dither spring assembly 10 in the scan module such as to a base or chassis 5.

FIG. 6 is a flow chart further detailing a preferred method of manufacture. As illustrated:

Step 100 commence process.

Step 110 pick up dither spring 20, this step may comprise an automated system or a manual process.

Step 112 move the dither spring 20 to the injection molding machine. FIG. 5 illustrates the springs 20 being moved to the mold 30 via a conveyor 90.

Step 114 inserting the dither spring 20 into the injection mold 30. The holding fixture 34 within the mold half 32 facilitates alignment of the dither spring 20 within the mold half 32.

Step 116 closing the mold 30.

Step 118 injecting plastic into the mold 30.

Step 120 forming the spring assembly 10 within the mold 30 and allowing the injected plastic spring assembly 10 to cool. The mold 30 concurrently forms both the molded base mount 16 onto the fixed end 24 of the spring 20 and forms the molded mirror mount 12 on the free end 29 of the dither spring 20.

Step 122 opening the mold 30.

Step 124 attaching a removal tool to the spring assembly 10.

Step 126 removing the spring assembly 10 from the injection mold.

Step 128 preparing a mirror surface of the mirror mount 12 for vapor deposition coating. Alternately, a mirror may be attached to the mirror mount 12.

Step 130 vapor depositing the mirror coating.

Step 132 placing the spring assembly 10 in a storage tray or alternately directly assembling in the scan module.

Step 134 completing process and repeating.

The plastic molding material may be a suitable molding plastic such as polycarbonate for forming the base mount 16 and the mirror mount 12. By molding the mounts 12, 16 directly onto the spring element 20 in the same molding step(s), manufacture is simplified and proper alignment of the spring and mounts is facilitated. The process may also be better suited for automation.

As described above, it is preferred that both the base mount 16 and the mirror mount 12 are molded onto the spring element 20 in the same molding operation. In a preferred method, the mold 30 has two sections, one section forming the mirror mount 12 and one section forming the base mount. The two mold sections may comprise a single mold 30 (as illustrated in FIG. 4) or may be separate molds, operating together or independently. Separate molds may allow for variations of the molding process for the mounts 12, 16 such as different materials and/or cure times.

In an alternate construction, the molding operation may form only one of the mounts 12, 16. For example the mirror mount 12 may be molded onto the spring 20. The spring/mirror mount combination 12/20 may then be attached onto a base mount 16 by a suitable mechanism such as screw attachment, adhesive, mounting bracket, or pin or the base mount 16 may then be formed by molding onto the spring 20 in a separate molding process (either before or after molding of the mirror mount 12).

Similarly, the base mount 16 may be molded onto the spring 20. A suitable mirror mount may then be attached to the spring/base mount combination 16/20 by a suitable mechanism such as screw attachment, adhesive, mounting bracket, or pin or the mirror mount 12 may then be formed by molding onto the spring 20 in a separate molding process (either before or after molding of the base mount 12).

Thus it is preferable that both mounts 12, 16 be molded to the spring 20, alternately only one of the mounts 12, 16 may be molded onto the spring 20.

FIG. 7 illustrates a dither spring assembly 10 installed in a scan module 5. The module 5 includes a base or chassis 7 upon which the spring assembly 10 is mounted. The chassis 7 may be a plastic or metal frame or alternately a printed circuit board. The chassis 7 may include an alignment mechanism (such as guides or pins) to facilitate installation and alignment of the assembly 10 thereupon. A light source 8 is also mounted on the chassis or PCB 7. The light source 8 may comprise a laser diode, LED, or other suitable source producing a beam 9 which is directed onto the mirror 14. As the mirror 14 is dither by the motor drive (not shown) the beam 9 is scanned to produce at least one scan line within the scan volume. The scan module 5 may include one or more dither mirror assemblies 10.

Thus while embodiments and applications of the present invention have been shown and described, it would be apparent to one skilled in the art that other modifications are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. The invention, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the spirit of the claims that follow.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4632501 *Feb 16, 1984Dec 30, 1986General Scanning, Inc.Resonant electromechanical oscillator
US4902083 *May 31, 1988Feb 20, 1990Reflection Technology, Inc.Low vibration resonant scanning unit for miniature optical display apparatus
US5009473 *Nov 13, 1989Apr 23, 1991Reflection Technology, Inc.Low vibration resonant scanning unit for miniature optical display apparatus
US5172261 *Oct 24, 1991Dec 15, 1992Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki KaishaOscillatory mirror device with two exciting means
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6303927Jul 6, 2000Oct 16, 2001Psc Scanning, Inc.Optical scan module with integral collection lens mount
US6388793Jul 25, 2000May 14, 2002Psc Scanning, Inc.Scanner having co-molded dither spring assembly and method of constructing
US6592040May 30, 2002Jul 15, 2003Symbol Technologies, Inc.Hand-held bar code reader with single printed circuit board
US6621070Oct 3, 2001Sep 16, 2003Psc Scanning, Inc.Bar code scanning system with offset optical axes
US6805295 *Apr 18, 2002Oct 19, 2004Symbol Technologies, Ltd.High speed laser scan module with folded beam path
US6884993Aug 12, 2003Apr 26, 2005Psc Scanning, Inc.Off-axis object detection system for a bar code scanner
US7787723 *Nov 11, 2002Aug 31, 2010Cube Optics AgSupport element for mounting optical elements and method of producing such a support element
US8240941Sep 15, 2008Aug 14, 2012Exelis Inc.Flexure with elongated openings
EP2163930A1 *Sep 10, 2009Mar 17, 2010Itt Manufacturing Enterprises, Inc.Flexure with elongated openings
Classifications
U.S. Classification359/224.1, 235/462.36, 359/214.1
International ClassificationG02B26/10, G02B7/182
Cooperative ClassificationG02B7/1821, G02B26/105
European ClassificationG02B26/10G, G02B7/182B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 20, 2012FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 12
Jan 17, 2008FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
Dec 30, 2003FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Dec 29, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: PSC INC., OREGON
Free format text: RELEASE OF SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LJ SCANNER HOLDINGS, INC., AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO FLEET NATIONAL BANK (A/K/A FLEET BANK), AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT;REEL/FRAME:014926/0809
Owner name: WELLS FARGO FOOTHILL, INC., GEORGIA
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PSC SCANNING, INC.;REEL/FRAME:014815/0764
Effective date: 20031223
Owner name: PSC INC. 959 TERRY STREETEUGENE, OREGON, 97402
Owner name: WELLS FARGO FOOTHILL, INC. 1000 ABERNATHY ROAD SUI
Feb 13, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: FLEET NATIONAL BANK, AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT, RHOD
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:PSC AUTOMATION ( FORMERLY LAZERDATA CORPORATION);OPTEL SYSTEMS LIMITED;OPTICAL STORAGE INTERNATIONAL;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:011474/0204
Effective date: 19960712
Owner name: FLEET NATIONAL BANK, AS ADMINISTRATIVE AGENT 111 W
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:PSC AUTOMATION ( FORMERLY LAZERDATA CORPORATION) /AR;REEL/FRAME:011474/0204
Feb 18, 1999ASAssignment
Owner name: PSC SCANNING, INC., OREGON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:TAMBURRINI, THOMAS E.;REEL/FRAME:009755/0860
Effective date: 19990127